Many people get into yoga to improve their body. Over time it helps trim fat and can lead to a lean, healthy physique. But, there are many more benefits to daily practice than the vanity of looking good. Yoga is much more than a great body.
It not only stretches your muscles, builds strength and endurance, it also stimulates your internal organs, helps with balance, helps you to learn focus and concentration. It can be a total body, mind and spirit makeover if you choose for it to be. Many people associate yoga postures with Eastern religion philosophies, but it doesn’t matter which religious tradition you follow, yoga is good for getting to know yourself.
Here are a few benefits of daily yoga practice:
Lean and supple muscles. Muscles can get tight and taut if they aren’t used and stretched on a regular basis. When they reach this stage it’s much more likely to get injured when you do something physical. Keeping your muscles stretched and active will keep them in top shape.
Strength and endurance. Building strength and endurance is a great benefit at any age. The great thing about yoga is that it is gentle. Instead of “whipping” your body into shape with aerobics or weight lifting, yoga works in a slower, methodical and gentle way. In the beginning you may only be able to hold a posture for a few seconds or a minute or two. With daily practice, you’ll gain endurance and be able to hold each posture for longer periods of time.
Stimulates internal organs. Yoga can make you look great on the outside and it can make you feel great with added energy and less body aches. Something that many people tend to overlook is the benefits on the inside. The gentle stretches and postures stimulates the internal organs so they are enriched with blood flow and oxygen. It can keep them working at peak conditions and in some cases can improve their functioning if they’ve become sluggish.
Balance and coordination. Yes, training your body to physically balance is a good benefit, but yoga also trains you for balance mentally too. After you’ve been doing yoga for awhile, you’ll notice changes in how you think and feel. You’ll want to let go of the chaos in life and create more balance in your world. This doesn’t mean your world will instantly become harmonious, but you will start to seek balance in all areas of your life.
Body coordination. You may not become as graceful as a gazelle, but over time you will become more aware of your body, your posture, and how you carry yourself. Your coordination will improve. You won’t feel as clumsy.
Focus and concentration. We know that practicing yoga requires focus and concentration while you’re going through the postures, but as an added bonus it will also carry over into your daily activities and help your mind to focus and concentrate on other tasks.
Stress relief. It’s likely that you’ll find yoga to be be so soothing and stress relieving that you’ll find yourself getting less stressed in other areas of your life. Things that once irritated you will no longer be an issue. You’ll learn that many of the things humans stress over really aren’t worth the energy expended to be stressed. You’ll find yourself in a calmer place which comes from the inside.
You won’t get the full benefits of yoga in the first few weeks, but if you keep up a daily practice you will gain a lot of insight and start to see all of these added benefits that come with time, patience and practice. It’s true that people who use yoga are extremely thin and fit, but yoga is so much more than just a great body. Having a great body is one of the least of the benefits when compared to all that you’ll gain in other areas.